This is just a small update filled with a BIG thank you from RSPB NI to everyone who took part in our campaign calling for a Green Recovery Fund to Revive Our World. Nearly 1,200 of you sent an email to the Northern Ireland Finance Minister asking for vital funding to restore nature. This is the biggest response we’ve had to a government targeted campaign in Northern Ireland for years!

Starling. Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

Starling by Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

With so many people taking action, you have sent a clear message to the Finance Minister and wider Northern Ireland Executive that people not only want a thriving economy but a country that’s rich in wildlife, has lots of greenspaces and a safe and stable climate too. This will open doors for RSPB NI to start conversations with the Department of Finance and other government departments to explore how green recovery initiatives can address the nature and climate emergency.

What’s next
Many of you will have received an email reply from the Department of Finance outlining that Northern Ireland’s 2021 – 2022 Budget must be prioritised towards tackling the pandemic, and that the climate crisis will be addressed through separate departmental initiatives and in future strategic spending reviews.

Although the Minister’s response acknowledges the need to reduce carbon emissions, it fails to recognise the nature emergency or the benefits that nature brings to the economy, communities, and our climate. And despite almost 1,200 of you personally emailing the Finance Minister asking for a Green Recovery Fund, the proposed budget for Northern Ireland doesn’t include plans that will pave the way for a green recovery.

We are disappointed in this response, but our campaign to revive our world won’t end here. Thanks to your pressure and support, we will follow up with the Finance Minister to challenge this decision as it’s imperative that Northern Ireland keeps pace with the rest of the UK and invests in action to address the nature and climate emergency. There will be more opportunities for you to speak up for nature too and build on the impact you’ve already made.

Stormont by Simon Harrison Photography

Stormont by Simon Harrison Photography

What can you do now?
If you feel that Northern Ireland’s Budget could do more for nature and people, why not reply to the email you received from the Minister and try to inspire a different response? If you’re not sure what to say, here’s some ideas…

• Governments in the UK and Ireland have already committed funding for a Green Recovery despite the pandemic. Why is Northern Ireland unable to do the same?
• It’s great to learn that the Department of Finance is serious about taking climate action but what is the Department’s plans for addressing the nature emergency which is equally urgent?
• How will the Department of Finance ensure that any future green initiatives to reduce carbon emissions don’t have a negative impact on wildlife and their habitats?

If you need more help in writing an email, please don’t hesitate to contact RSPB NI's Campaigns Team. And if you do send a reply, please either forward the email or BCC us in it as we’d love to see it too. Our address is campaignsni@rspb.org.uk

House sparrow by Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

House sparrow by Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

Remember, throughout history some of the biggest changes start with a small number of passionate people standing up for what they believe in. A Green Recovery is not a quick win. It will be an enduring cultural shift in how nature is valued throughout society and thanks to your campaigning actions, we’ve kick-started the movement in Northern Ireland.

We’ll continue campaigning for a Green Recovery to Revive Our World over the coming months and we’ll need your help. So, keep an eye on your monthly Campaigner Newsletter and follow RSPB NI on Twitter and Facebook for ways to get involved.

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